A good alternative to a full size acoustic piano if you need something that’s more cost effective and portable, a digital piano works by reproducing the sounds of an acoustic version. By using digital recordings and touch sensitive keyboards, digital pianos are able to emulate the sound of both different pianos, as well as other instruments. In terms of the benefits that digital pianos provide, this range of different sounds, and the ability to use a digital piano with a computer set up, make them an excellent choice for players.
Digital pianos work by assigning a weight value to different keys – this is fed into sensors and a digitised sound bank, and produces a digital reproduction of what a non digital piano would sound like. These sounds are recorded from acoustic pianos, while keys are engineered to be as precise as possible in terms of creating variations in pitch and tone. Digital pianos can consequently reproduce the sound of everything from a grand concert piano to a smaller practice device, and rely on optical sensors and amplification to produce consistent tones.
In addition, digital pianos can be combined with a sound library that mimics everything from harpsichords to a full orchestra, depending on what kind of effect that you’re trying to create. Yamaha digital pianos and other models can also be connected up to MIDI sound systems to record and develop music as part of a studio. The ability to split different tracks, and lay rhythm tracks down over your playing means that a digital piano can be a good option for beginner players, or those just starting to write their own songs and compositions.
Advantages of Digital Pianos
Digital pianos have the advantage of being lighter and more portable than acoustic pianos, and are also generally cheaper. Moreover, digital pianos do not need to be tuned, and can be used with a headphone output for private practicing, and for practicing late at night and at other unsociable hours. Digital pianos are more effective for touring as part of a band, and don’t require the same attention to placement as an expensive acoustic piano, which can become vulnerable to heat and moisture if placed in the wrong part of a building.
Down sides to digital piano technology, however, include some occasional issues with digital sound quality and crackle, part of which is dependent on the kind of speakers that you’re using. The dynamic range on digital pianos is also not quite at the same level as an acoustic piano. In terms of differences between brands, Baldwin, Roland, and Yamaha offer particularly good value for different ranges.
The Yamaha series is available in models that range from beginner pianos for lighter practicing, through to premium pianos that can reproduce the sound of a grand piano. Choosing between these different pianos often comes down to whether or not you want a basic model for long term practicing, or a model with a wider range of extra features, and a higher quality sound. Again, though, to really achieve the right effects, you’ll need to invest in a good set of speakers.